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Interview with Michael Simmons

By Arel Moodie
 You probably have different groups of connections—close ties (best friends and business partners) and weaker ties with people (associates, like that one kid from high school).  Master social entrepreneur and connecter Michael Simmons ( thinks there’s a third type of tie to think about—the tribal ties.  This is the group of people whom you may never meet in person, but connect with you from your online presence.
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Show Notes

Log into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any social media platform you may be on, and entertain this thought for a second: With every post, share, and status update, you’re creating a personal brand for yourself.  All of your likes, shares, and photos say something about your image to your tribal ties.  What are you or your business all about?  In your personal brand, knowing your content is the first step, and you can identify this in the books and articles you read, and your likes and passions.

If you’re looking at a business page on Facebook, notice the audience interaction with the page—tribal ties at work!   Then you realize that everyone else has been creating a personal brand too!  There is a veritable flood of updates from social media and news.  This is a roadblock for one who wants to reach out successfully to their audience.  If you want to share your expertise or experience successfully with others, this begs the following question: How would you and your content stand out from all the noise?

Michael ran into this same problem when he set out to build his own personal brand online.  While a lot of online articles could have been written in one to two hours, Michael spends as much as thirty to forty (!) hours to research his subject and to tell a story to his engaged audience in what he calls “blockbuster content.”  Just like hit songs or movies that rake in attendance at the box office like Avengers, a lot of time and effort is needed to produce “blockbuster content” to grow your audience like Michael has.

We can see “blockbuster content” as your unique take on the world, substantiated by your expertise and research.  Easy to say if you’re the preeminent mind on your subject, but what if you’re not at the level of expertise where you want to be?  Already having the expertise is straightforward, but otherwise Michael suggests borrowing the credibility of those with expertise.  If you’re writing about a particular business strategy that Elon Musk used himself, mentioning so adds a healthy amount of weight to your article.  Credibility, content, time and effort, and you’ve got yourself “blockbuster content.”

So should you write long pieces of content and stay away from short posts?  Michael points out these short posts and interactions with audience still hold great value.  It’s with these short posts that you can interact with and build a relationship with your audience, your tribal ties

The more you share, the more you allow your tribal ties to relate to you.  Rather than being known as just an entrepreneur or an author, an audience can relate to you as a person.  One powerful way to help your audience relate to you is to be vulnerable with them.  Sure, you’re all expert and business when it comes to your expertise, but reflecting upon your flaws and sharing your experiences can help to build relationships—think Batman and Superman; they’re not perfect either.

So if you want to start creating content now, Michael suggests a three pronged approach; know the content and subject you want to deliver to your audience, stick with a particular platform on social media, and create content, both small and blockbuster.

Stay tuned, and stay awesome!

Thanks a ton to Michael for coming onto the show!

Michael Simmons is a social connecter who is the co-founder of entrepreneur-mindset company Empact.  He writes for Forbes and the Harvard Business Review, focusing on building relationships through storytelling and his research.

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